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George Floyd Protests on Night 18 amid Worldwide Pandemic; Coronavirus in the U.S.; Former Detroit Police Chief: George Floyd "Could Have Been Me"; Protests Sway Voters in Battleground Arizona; Anti-Government Protests in Lebanon; Patient Gets First U.S. COVID-19 Double Lung Transplant; Rio Drug Gangs Impose Curfew, Hand Out Food. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired June 13, 2020 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I am Michael Holmes.


HOLMES: The U.S. winding down its 18th night of protests over George Floyd's death, as the demands for racial equality and police reforms are being seen and heard across the world.

In Miami, Florida, a peaceful march to the courthouse downtown, ended up with some protesters on Interstate 95, blocking a bridge. There was a brief standoff with law enforcement but it ended without violence.

In Chicago, marchers singing hymns and calling for the creation of a civilian council to keep police accountable.

In Minneapolis, where Floyd died after an officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, protesters are demanding the head of the police union resign. All three cities and at least 17 others now banning their police officers from using chokeholds.

President Trump, meanwhile, has changed his mind about restarting his campaign rallies on June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. Here is the tweet he posted about two hours ago.

He said, quote, "We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th - a big deal. Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday. Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents. I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests"

So moving it by one day. Mr. Trump stirring up criticism for scheduling that rally on Juneteenth, while the country is experiencing social upheaval, not to mention a pandemic. CNN's Jim Acosta shows American society may be undergoing a change. Mr. Trump, it seems, is not.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Defending his response to the protests following the death of George Floyd, President Trump is sounding like the divider in chief.

The president is praising his photo-op in Washington, after demonstrators were pummeled near the White House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it was a beautiful picture.

FAULKNER: Why do you think that your.

TRUMP: And I'll tell you, Christians think it was a beautiful picture.

ACOSTA: Even as he's dismissing comments from Pentagon officials who now say they regret being a part of it.

TRUMP: No, I don't think so. No, I mean, if that's the way they feel, I think that's fine.

ACOSTA: Reacting to protests in Seattle, the president is threatening more harsh tactics, warning the city's leaders, "These liberal Dems don't have a clue. The terrorists burn and pillage our cities and they think it's just wonderful, even the death. Must end this Seattle takeover."

As for Floyd, the president danced around the question of whether it's appropriate for officers to continue using chokeholds, saying they sometimes work, before adding, they may need to be banned.

TRUMP: I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect and then you realize, if it's one-on-one -- now, if it's two- on-one, that's a little bit of a different story.

With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended.

ACOSTA: The president is standing by his campaign's plans for a rally next week in Tulsa, the scene of one of the worst massacres of African Americans in history, on the same day the end of slavery in the U.S. is celebrated.

FAULKNER: Is that on purpose?

TRUMP: No, but I know exactly what you're going to say. Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration.

ACOSTA: Later this summer, the president is set to deliver his speech at the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, on the anniversary of an infamous attack on African Americans in that city.

The president told FOX he should be mentioned in the same sentence as Abraham Lincoln.

TRUMP: I think I have done more for the black community than any other president. And let's take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good, although it's always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.

ACOSTA: But the president is hearing appeals to be a more unifying leader. Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz said during a podcast that his wife, Heidi, urged the president to address racism in the U.S.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I said, "Mr. President, Heidi is here. You mind if I put you on speaker?"

And so she -- he chatted with Heidi.

And she said, "Mr. President, it is really, really important for you to speak out to the racial injustice in this country and for you to speak for unity."

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump's rival, Joe Biden, just released a new ad insisting the president is incapable of uniting the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Where is Donald Trump?

Too scared to face the people.

ACOSTA: Also blasting the president's leadership, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is offering a scathing account of his days at the White House, writing in a new book, "I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn't driven by reelection calculations."

The White House is counting on a recovering economy to bail out Mr. Trump come election time, with top advisers insisting there won't be a second wave of the coronavirus, contrary to what health experts are warning.

KUDLOW: I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening.


KUDLOW: They are saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike.

ACOSTA: The president was laying low at his golf club in New Jersey on Friday with no public events on his schedule, delivering the commencement speech at West Point on Saturday, an event that will include some social distancing, even though the White House has drifted away from those kinds of precautions -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.



HOLMES: And CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins me now from Los Angeles.

Always good to see you, my friend. I want to start with the president postponing this Tulsa rally after according to him African American friends urged him to do so, because of Juneteenth. An uncharacteristic move for the president to bow to criticism, if that's what it is.

What did you make of it?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's just a sign of how tenuous he feels the ground to be under him at this point, how uncertain he is, how to react. The president's initial reaction always at any moment of crisis as we have seen over 3.5 years is to double down on trying to mobilize his base, without worrying much about the majority opinion in the country.

But here, he is in a moment where his natural instinct to defend the police, to insist to systemic racism doesn't exist, all arguments that do resonate with his base, the gap between that and what is very clearly a significant movement in public opinion toward concern about racism, toward acknowledgment of systemic bias in policing and criminal justice, I think that has left him a little bit at sea.

And you see him responding to somewhat more uncharacteristic and flexible way, although he is still going to Tulsa, the site of one of the worst race massacres in America in the 20th century. So --


BROWNSTEIN: -- limits.

HOLMES: Well, good point. Given the events of late and how the president has handled, some would say mishandled, but how big of an issue might race be in the election in November?

And I mean that in terms of how out of touch Trump has been on the issue of change and the need for it?

The polling is saying people want change, even some Republicans. Yet the president and a good portion of his party seem to think things are OK or they are even threatened by change.

BROWNSTEIN: There were multiple academic studies about what happened in 2016 and the unequivocal conclusion of them, study to study, was that attitudes about race was a far better predictor of who would vote for Donald Trump than any kind of economic distress.

And in fact, the strongest predictor voting for Trump was the belief that racism, systemic racism no longer exists and, for that matter, gender discrimination no longer exists.

In polling last, year two-thirds of Trump supporters said that discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against minorities.

And other polling says three-quarters of Trump supporters say that shootings of African Americans by police are isolated incidents, not part of a broader pattern.

It is essential to his message. The argument that his voters, what he describes as the real America, are the ones who are, in fact, under siege and he is protecting them from contemptuous elites above and dangerous minorities and immigrants on the other side.

That is the core of his appeal. The risk he has got is that the majority of Americans, who don't accept that vision, who recoil from the vision, for some of, them it was not a decisive issue.

They may like tax cuts and they want less regulation. They may have liked the way the economy was going. What is happening now is raising the salience, drawing this line more sharply and I think it will polarize the electorate around their attitudes, not only toward his handling is race but toward the underlying issue of whether you accept or resist the way America is changing demographically, culturally, even economically.

HOLMES: Right. I want to ask you this, too, coronavirus obviously a public health issue first and foremost. But there is a political aspect. You've got these red states, electorally significant red states -- Florida, Texas -- and I know you have tweeted earlier today about Arizona. They are all seeing spikes.

Could Republican handling of the virus in certain states have consequences in November?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I think so. Here is the most logical, the most likely consequence. The coronavirus, although it is spreading all over the country, it is reaching rural as well as urban, it has hit the hardest, it has imposed the heaviest consequences in the big urban centers of the country, in both red states and blue states.

We look at what's happening right now in Houston and Dallas and Phoenix and other big cities, even across the Sun Belt. And I think what that is likely to do is deepen the hole for the president in those large metro areas.

In 2016, the hundred largest counties in America, he lost 87 of them by a combined 15 million votes, which is an incredible number. I think between the issues of race that have come to the fore and his handling of the coronavirus, he's likely to lose them by even more in 2020.


BROWNSTEIN: This would put enormous pressure on him to turn out in great, even greater margins in small town rural areas, which are not gaining in population and in some cases are losing population.

HOLMES: Yes. I want to get this in before we go, we are nearly out of time. We have the elections in Georgia, the state of Georgia this week. They were considered a debacle. A lot of people predicted a Dumpster fire and there it was in plain sight.

What does that suggest for November?

How it was run and also the allegations of suppression.

BROWNSTEIN: First, they are clearly a warning sign of what we're heading for November. Most experts expect that about half of Americans will try to vote by mail in 2020. That is double the share that voted by mail; it was one-quarter in 2016.

There are some states like Arizona and Florida and Michigan, to some extent, that have a history of dealing with a very large vote by mail. Most do not. And even states where it's legal may not have the infrastructure to handle this.

We saw Stacey Abrams saying, for example, that her voting by mail ballot came damaged and she couldn't use it. So on the first end, there will be many states that are struggling to handle the increased volume of voting by mail.

And then what is left on Election, Day obviously the coronavirus enormously complicates this because, our poll watchers, our volunteer force, they are heavily elderly, many of them may not feel comfortable doing it in November.

Plus you have the issue of suppression, a state like Georgia, since the 2013 Supreme Court decision, Shelby County, John Roberts wrote it 5-4, party line decision by Republican appointed justices, basically eviscerating our Voting Rights Act in 1965.

We have seen a lot of poll closings, especially in red states, especially in minority neighborhoods. And that was a big factor in those enormous lines you saw in Georgia. I tweeted that day, the lines you saw in Georgia led directly to John Roberts' door.

HOLMES: Yes, it was worrying for a lot of people in the state, that's for sure.

Ron, good to see you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.


HOLMES: London's police chief is asking people to avoid Black Lives Matter protests this weekend. Cressida Dick says she has information that some people are planning to attend the marches to cause violence and confrontation.

The morning coming after protesters tore down the statue of a slave trader in Bristol last weekend.

In France, more protests against racism and police brutality planned for the weekend. Some are rallying around the case of a young black man who died in police custody in a Paris suburb. There have been unconfirmed reports the French president, Emmanuel Macron, might speak about the unrest in a televised address to the nation on Sunday.

Police in France also protesting, some of them say that the decision by top officials to stop chokeholds could make their jobs more dangerous. They call on the interior minister to resign after he pledged a zero tolerance policy for racism within police departments.

He was beaten by police as a teenager but instead of holding a grudge, he joined the department. The former Detroit police chief, speaking out on his continued run-ins with racism.

Also, still to come a look at how the president's response to the pandemic and the protests is swaying independent voters in the battleground state of Arizona. We will be right back.





HOLMES: The death of George Floyd hitting close to home for the former Detroit police chief. Isaiah McKinnon says, when he was 14 years old, he was walking home from school, when four white police officers jumped out of their car, threw him against that car and beat him.

He said, quote, "The more I screamed, the more they beat me. That day, I promise myself, that I would become a Detroit police officer and changed the Detroit police force from the inside."

Not only did McKinnon become an officer, he also became police chief. And he told our Erin Burnett that, no matter his position, the racism never ended.


ISAIAH MCKINNON, FORMER DETROIT CHIEF OF POLICE: Well, I was driving my unmarked police car and everybody knows that I'm the unmarked police car in Detroit. I was driving and this officer pulled me over. One of the things that's most important as you stop someone on the street is you look them in the face.

This officer came up to the car, did not look me in the face. He said, do you have your driver's license and registration? I said, yes, officer, I do.

What's more crazy is that I took my wallet out and I had my badge hanging there. So I handed him my driver's license and registration and he walked back to his car. I'm waiting. I'm look into the rear view mirror. As he recognized and realized that this is -- this is different and he realized who I was, he came back to the car and he said, oh, and he said, s and he said, oh, sir, I'm so sorry, I didn't know it was you.

And, Erin, I said -- I chastised him in terms of what he had done in terms of not looking at me, but why did you stop me? And he said I thought it was a stolen car. It was a Detroit police unmarked vehicle. So it was still there, you know.

But I chastised him. I gave him a reprimand and told him these are things that you just don't do because you're here to serve and protect the people of the city of Detroit and not pick on people.


HOLMES: Weeks of protests over the death of George Floyd have led some independent and Republican voters to think twice about who they will support November. CNN's Kyung Lah reports from the election battleground state of Arizona.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Republican stronghold of the North Phoenix suburbs, signs of a party split.

LINDA RAWLES, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: We're not at home in our party. We're not Democrats. We don't have anywhere to go.

LAH: So self-proclaimed independents Linda and Tom Rawles went to a street corner to hold their own small protest. That hasn't exactly been welcomed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every life matters.

L. RAWLES: Yes, have a good night.

LAH: There are frequent obscene gestures.

L. RAWLES: That was a finger there.

LAH: But some supportive ones.

L. RAWLES: Thank you, guys. Have a great night.

TOM RAWLES, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: I think the last three to six weeks have been a turning point.

LAH: The coronavirus pandemic, historic unemployment and the sustained nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd.

L. RAWLES: All of these things together are allowing a few people to have the moral courage to speak up. We'll support Biden not because we agree with him on issues, most issues I don't agree with him on. I'm not a Democrat philosophically. But he's a decent, kind, sane man.

LAH: The shift among independents is a warning sign for the president. In 2016, Donald Trump narrowly won independents. A recent series of national polls show him trailing Democrat Joe Biden among that group -- a trend that's mirrored here in Arizona.

These suburbs are the battlefield in the fight for those votes.

Hunter Henderson protesting nightly in Tempe sees an opportunity with independents. He works with Vets Forward, a group that hopes to convince moderates to vote Democratic.

HUNTER HENDERSON, CO-FOUNDER, VETS FORWARD: The problems of our society are right in front of them now. And now is the time to, you know, really capitalize and have those conversations.

CAROL COONS, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: Yes, I voted for Trump in 2016. But many Republicans who did vote for Trump don't feel comfortable even saying that because of this polarization.


LAH: Carol Coons is a self-described moderate and a nurse working the front line of Phoenix's COVID crisis. But it's not her job that's making her think about voting Democratic. It's the protests.

COONS: We have to come together as a people and we need a leader, a world leader, a national world leader that's going to help us do that, not poke the bear, if you will.

LAH: As far as voting Republican in November?

(on camera): What are you going to do?

COONS: I honestly don't know yet.

LAH: Would you say it's too late for you?

COONS: No, no, I wouldn't.


HOLMES: That was Kyung Lah reporting.

We'll take a quick break. When we come back on the program, Lebanon, the currency collapsing, people struggling to feed their families. We will take you to the streets of Beirut, where protesters are lashing out in anger. We will be right back.




HOLMES: Protesters in Beirut say they have had enough. They are not talking about racial injustice or even coronavirus restrictions; rather, the country's economic crisis, which they blame, on the politicians in power. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Scores of protesters took to the streets of Beirut for a second night in a row. We saw these scenes of chaos and rioting, all unfolding in the Lebanese capital.

Protesters were lobbing rocks, Molotov cocktails at security forces, sending Dumpsters on fire. Security forces were responding using tear gas. Our team on the ground described the situation as turning into a cat and mouse chase, at one point. Security forces were chasing these protesters in central Beirut and

ended up pushing them back. Now some of these demonstrators that spoke to our team, said that they are unemployed, they have had enough of the country's economic crisis that has impacted their lives.

They blame the politicians and they want the government gone. Protests in Lebanon have been taking place on and off since the popular uprising in October of last year that overthrew the government. But then, with the coronavirus pandemic, these protests stopped and are now picking up again.

This is because of the living conditions, the economic crisis that the country is going through. Since last October, the Lebanese currency has lost 70 percent of its value. This has had a devastating impact on the population.

Most people are struggling right now to survive. They can no longer afford basic goods, the prices have skyrocketed, unemployment is going up, lots of people lost their jobs, businesses have shut down.

And people are blaming the ruling elite, the politicians. And the governments, they say, come and go and do not change the situation. In response to the protests, the Lebanese government, following emergency meetings on Friday, came, out and said, as of Monday, they are going to start, through the central bank, pump U.S. dollars into the market to try and stop the currency from tanking, further trying to stabilize the lira.


KARADSHEH: But this does seem, at this point, like a short term fix. It is unclear if this will work and what impact it will have. Many people on the streets say, this is too little, too late -- Jomana Karadsheh, CNN.


HOLMES: The coronavirus epidemic is not over the United States, far from it. And it's just getting worse in many places. Ahead, how some states are reckoning with a surge of new cases and the pressure to get back to business.

Also, as cases rise in Brazil, drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro are pushing public health. That's ahead, stay with us.




HOLMES: Welcome back. The U.S. is struggling to contain this coronavirus pandemic. There is a huge influx of new cases and hospitalizations in several states, as governors rethink their reopening strategies. So far, more than 2 million cases have been reported in the U.S. and

nearly 115,000 deaths. Health experts warning of more hard times to come. Here's Erica Hill.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Reopening now on pause in Oregon and Utah, as new cases mount.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As long as we give the virus an opportunity to jump from one host to another, that's what it will do.

HILL (voice-over): The governor of Texas, looking to July 4th, for a full reopening of his state, as Harris County, which includes Houston, reports some of its highest numbers to date for new cases and hospitalizations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to take action, now, so that we avoid a shutdown in the future.

HILL (voice-over): Houston's NRG Stadium, being prepped as a field hospital, just in case; 19 states are trending up in the past week, Texas, Florida and South Carolina, posting single day records as the CDC predicts 130,000 virus related deaths by July 4th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the early days of the pandemic, if only 5 or 10 percent of the population has had this infection, we have a really long way to go.

HILL (voice-over): The agency recommended the best way to stay safe is to keep your distance, avoid travel and wear a mask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it's become politicized but put that aside. The virus knows no politics.

HILL (voice-over): Face coverings, required in L.A. County, which moved into phase 3 today, after reporting its highest single day increase this week. Gyms, day camps and TV and film production, among the businesses reopening.


HILL: Missouri will fully reopen next week.

Concerts and conventions resuming in Georgia July 1st.

In the meantime, anyone attending the president's campaign rally next week in Tulsa must sign a waiver, promising not to sue if they contract the virus.

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We know that the types of conditions that lead to the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission are crowded, indoor spaces, with a lot of people who were shouting and screaming.

I think it's almost certain that we will see superspreader events come from these rallies.

HILL: The CDC in its safety guidelines that it put out on Friday, did actually deem certain gatherings low, medium or high risk.

And high-risk gatherings are one that involve a lot of people, who cannot safely socially distance, cannot be 6 feet apart and also could that include attendees coming from other areas.

A reporter asked for clarification on a call with the CDC about whether political rallies are definitely in that higher risk category, could that be what they were referring to.

The CDC said simply they were referring to all large gatherings, anything larger than a backyard barbecue -- in New York, Erica Hill, CNN.


HOLMES: You may have heard the remarkable story of a successful double lung transplant in a young woman whose lungs were damaged due to COVID-19. The credit goes to surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and the hospital believes it is the first time that this has been done on a coronavirus patient in the U.S.

Dr. Ankit Bharat, the hospital's chief of thoracic surgery, says the transplant was her only chance of survival.


DR. ANKIT BHARAT, NORTHWESTERN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Yesterday, she smiled and told me just one sentence.

She said, "Doc, thank you for not giving up on me."


HOLMES: And Dr. Ankit Bharat joins me now to talk more about this.

And I want to start with that, it was such a touching moment, when the young lady thanked you for not giving up on her. Tell us about this patient and what led to that decision to do the transplant.

How sick was she?

BHARAT: This is a young woman, who is actually quite healthy at baseline, very functional but very minimal comorbid conditions. And actually she got this virus, while sitting at home, for the most part and she came to us, very quickly.

The damage to the lungs progressed and she ended up being on a ventilator. The damage to the lungs progressed and very quickly even the ventilator was not sufficient so we had to use ECMO, which is a heart and lung support device, (INAUDIBLE) support that you can provide to any individual using ECMO.

Then, on ECMO, we supported her and over time, she was able to clear the virus but it was quite clear that the lung injury would not get better. The damage that the virus had caused led to formation of these cavities inside of the lung, which was gathering other bacteria.

So she was quite sick. And given how young she, was and how functional she was, we didn't want to just give up on her without trying every possible medical option.

HOLMES: What remarkable work. One thing I want to ask you, this has been, in many, ways pretty under reported aspect of COVID.

People who survive and recover but have lasting permanent damage to organs, including the lungs and in this, case needing a transplant but also kidneys, and other things. I don't think a lot of people realize that.

What sort of damage is being seen by people who have, quote-unquote, "recovered?"

BHARAT: Michael, that's a great question and I completely agree with you, it's not something we are talking about, because the death itself is such a catastrophic outcome and people are focusing on that, which is quite important.

But as we see these patients, more and follow these patients more, we are going to see the aftermath and the long term effects of these infections. We are seeing patients who are on the ventilator and they clear the virus, for the most part. You can support them of a high level of ICU care.

But what is happening in a lot of these patients, the lung damage become so severe, they are stuck on the ventilators. Even the patients who do get off the ventilator, they are going home still on a fair amount of oxygen, as a result of the lung injuries and the fibrosis that develops in the lung from the scar tissue.


BHARAT: So we are closely following these patients longitudinally to understand how this will progress and if this lung fibrosis will keep progressing to the point that they need a transplant down the road or if it will get better. We just don't know.

But we do see a lot of patients, a certain number of patients, who are still stuck on the ventilator, despite clearing the virus.

HOLMES: Another question, I suppose, is why such a young, apparently otherwise healthy patient deteriorated like this?

We see this as well, don't we?

BHARAT: Yes, 20s. A 20-year-old, otherwise healthy woman. She did have a very minor medical illnesses but we've seen the entire spectrum of the age groups, patients who get so sick.

Now it's less common in 20 year-olds but we do see it. So 20s, 30s, 40s. In her case, she did have a minor illness but we are seeing patients who have no medical problems and then get such severe damage from COVID.

HOLMES: Can you see more of a need for transplants going forward?

How concerned are you about the landscape you see in front of you at the moment?

BHARAT: I absolutely think that the transplant will be needed, again, not for everybody. I think it doesn't replace the need for a vaccine and it doesn't replace the need for best medical therapy.

But vaccines and medical treatments are not going to work for everybody, even when they come. So, clearly, there will be a need for lung transplants. And while we are waiting for the vaccines and the best medical treatment to evolve, there are going to be patients like her, who are going to require more support.

HOLMES: Very quickly, we're right out of time but, briefly, if you will, tell us about the prognosis for this patient.

High hopes?

BHARAT: Very high hopes. She had ice cream today, she was FaceTiming her family, she had her makeup on to FaceTime with her friends, so I'm very optimistic in the next couple of weeks, she will be in rehab, getting stronger. So very happy.

HOLMES: That's great news. And congratulations to you and the team, the work you do is remarkable and it is important. Dr. Ankit Bharat, thank you so much.

BHARAT: Thanks a lot.


HOLMES: Incredible work.

A treatment can't come soon enough for India, South Africa and Latin America, the world's coronavirus hot spots right now.

Johns Hopkins University counting more than 7.6 million cases around the world and about 425,000 lives lost. Beijing not taking any chances, the Chinese capital's largest vegetable market has been shut down, after officials say that 4 new cases were linked to the market, 11 nearby residential communities will now be closed off and mass testing will be carried out.

In most of Europe, the virus does seem to be under control for now. France will soon lift restrictions for those traveling from a long list of European countries.

But Ukraine's president has had to adapt the way that he works after his wife tested positive. Now many want answers. Starting in Italy, a prosecutor has questioned the prime minister on his response to the pandemic.

Brazil may now have the second highest death toll in the world from the virus, behind the United States. But there is some uncertainty, though, just because of the way that the U.K. reports its numbers.

While health experts warn that the virus is still spreading aggressively in Brazil and testing is not adequate, shops have begun to reopen to the public. The situation is so bad in poor communities that drug dealers have taken on the role of public health monitors. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh explains.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Out on the edges, on the unluckier hills around town, you only really see the state when police raid to hunt gangsters, not when ambulances come for the sick.

This slum is run by drug cartels, a no-go zone for police. Here, the virus means that dealers have had to impose new rules to survive. A curfew, in theory, distancing, if possible and, even food handouts, for those hit hardest by not working in the lockdown.

This is something they want us to see but there's no faking the gratitude. The virus killed this street vendor's father-in-law and put her uncle in hospital.


WALSH (voice-over): "They took my father-in-law, went to the hospital, he was stable," she says, "and then, inside, he died in less than a day. It took two weeks to bury him. This help is huge."

It is strange to see signs of normal again up here, where even the gunmen cannot get everyone to take their new rules seriously. These young dealers feel invincible against the violence and continuing police crackdown by president Jair Bolsonaro's police but not when it comes to the virus.

That's the law of nature.

"We fear the virus, not Bolsonaro," he says. "The isolation was going well here. But now, even the president himself, in his own words, is disregarding it. But we can't ease it. We've seen a lot of death."

WALSH: Donald Trump is sending 2 million pills of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil.

Will you take any?

"I don't think hydroxychloroquine helps," he says. "It's B.S. Everything that comes to Brazil from abroad has already been contaminated."

Many tell us they have already done more than the state.

Maya (ph) has turned to mask making, which means she can stay at her window. She says the dealers give her a little more for them than everyone else.

Daniel's (ph) friend had diabetes and died suddenly at home.

"The virus is in control here," he says. "Even the dealers are afraid. They're imposing some rules, like bars and restaurants can't have tables and chairs."

It is part of living here that police could return at any time. This rock is meant to block their vehicles. Their last raid (ph) nearby left at least 7 people dead.

WALSH: It doesn't look like much of a curfew, does it, but we are told that this is a massively reduced street presence here. The bars, frankly, would normally be heaving. And there are still deals being done on the various street corners here. This favela, cut off again, this time by the virus, rather than criminality that keeps it going from the rest of Rio de Janeiro.

WALSH (voice-over): A world Brazil cannot afford to distance or ignore, as the virus strikes out and spreads from everywhere, without distinction -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


HOLMES: Finally, a bit of sweet new beginning for the widow of a whistleblower doctor. You may remember Dr. Li Wenliang alerted people about the coronavirus when it first began circulating in Wuhan, China. He died of the virus in February.

Now his wife says she has given birth to their son, saying, on social media, quote, "Can you see him from heaven?

"The last gift you gave me was born today."

Thanks for spending part of your day with us, I'm Michael Holmes. Stay tuned for "MARKETPLACE AFRICA." I will see you in about 20 minutes for more news.